2017 LEXUS 350is Image: Lexus / Newspress
high tech, lexus, Motoring News, new models, sports cars

Lexus IS: Updated from spindle grille to chromed tailpipes

  • Redesigned  spindle grille,  standard diode headlights
  • New wheel-rim design for E and EX grades
  • Revised multimedia systems with 25cm LCD screen
2017 LEXUS 350is Image: Lexus / Newspress
2017 LEXUS IS 350 F-Sport Image: Lexus / Newspress

TOYOTA PARTNER Lexus has updated its 200t and 350 S Sport IS models for 2017 but is keeping their two-litre turbo (in E or EX grade) and 3.5-litre quad-cam V6.

The big news (Lexus’ words!) for 2017 is that 2017 models will also have “a more assertive exterior” and an upscaled cabin furnished with an updated infotainment unit. The upgrade includes a more-imposing grille and revised headlights.

The diode tail-lights have become “more pronounced” and the rectangular, chromed, exhaust tips are new but what does continue is the sensible size of the IS range: our editor has always been an IS fan and Lexus is continuing with the facets that made him that way, such as…

2017 LEXUS 350is Image: Lexus / Newspress
2017 LEXUS IS 350 F-Sport Image: Lexus / Newspress

…comfortable seats and a quiet ride with confidence-inspiring driving manners and beautiful engines. The cars are big enough to be luxury but not, like some German sedans (no offence, guys, but they are) verging on gross: we figure if your shoulder isn’t close to the metal or your head too close to the roof, then the car’s big enough.

Or, unfortunately, you’re too tall.

Why buy a car with which you are going to struggle in today’s tight parking garage slots; one so big you can barely squeeze out of the door after driving into your home garage?

Glenn Crompton, marketing boss at Lexus SA, told The Corner in a media release: “Four generations of the Lexus IS have established a strong reputation. All the improvements for 2017 were made to enhance the driver’s and passengers’ experience.”

Here’s how the cars have changed…

The entire front of the IS has been transformed with new headlights, larger air-intakes (in the bumper) and an evolution of the ubiquitous Lexus spindle grille. The intention, Lexus explains, was “to change its proportions and emphasise a more road-hugging stance”.

2017 LEXUS 350is Image: Lexus / Newspress
2017 LEXUS IS 350 F-Sport Image: Lexus / Newspress

The bonnet was reshaped, its centre flowing backwardsfrom the top of the grille and headlights; L-shaped daytime lights, the automakers says, “give a dramatic daytime glow”.

The F Sport’s grille now has has a three-dimensional F-mesh design with a black metallic coating – the coating also used to treat the brake-cooling ducts.

Lexus has adopted diodes for the tail-, stop-, turn- and reversing lights to “create a unified appearance when lit and highlight Lexus’ progressive image”.

Back to the cabin… where “many carefully considered improvements” have been made: the multimedia display is bigger on EX and Sport units (from 19 to 25cm).

A “customise” mode has been added to the driving mode selector on the F Sport, turned on by pressing the dial switch; the distance-keeping cruise-control has been simplified to one-step activation -a two-second press of the main cruise-control switch.

READ MORE Lexus features on Carman’s Corner

New stitching has been added atop the instrument binnacle and the speedometer and tachometer on E and EX grades have been refined.

The IS instrument panel has always been a work of art but now the meter clusters have been redesigned to “add a sense of luxury”. The bezel part of the clock has been changed to two-tone silver/black.

The content layout of the multi-Information display has, in Lexus’ view, been improved with ambient temperature as the default display. More data can been brought up with a switch on the steering-wheel.

2017 LEXUS 350is Image: Lexus / Newspress
2017 LEXUS IS 350 F-Sport Image: Lexus / Newspress

,,,AND THE ENGINES

The 2017 IS, each unit with rear-wheel drive, has continued with three grades – 200t E and EX and 350 F Sport. The 200t has a two-litre twin-scroll turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine with intercooler capable of 180kW / 350Nm and can automatically switch between the Otto and Atkinson combustion cycles.

The model comes only with an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle-shifters.

“The 350 F Sport,” Lexus says, “delivers dazzling performance from its 3.5-litre V6 that makes 233kW / 378Nm and also turns an eight-speed auto transmission with four driving modes – but adds Sport S, variable-ratio steering and self-adapting suspension.

AND IN SHORT…

…a summary of other improvements that, Lexus believes, make the IS one of the world’s leading sport sedans:

  • New laser screw and adhesive body bonding for a substantial increase in body rigidity
  • Revised front suspension with a 20% increase in roll rigidity; new multi-link rear suspension
  • New electric power-steering with better feedback.
  • Adaptive variable suspension to fine-tune ride characteristics

PRICES
Lexus IS 200t E – R601 900
Lexus IS 200t EX – R659 100
Lexus IS 350 F Sport – R728 800

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